Iranian Nuclear Crisis Spurred By Security Concerns, Says Former OSU Visiting Prof

A professor of International Relations at the National University of Iran spoke in Columbus Monday. Mahmood Sariolghalam addressed a gathering at Ohio State University where he offered his perspective on the growing Iranian nuclear crisis.

Sariolghalam said his country, Iran, is run by “first generation revolutionaries” whose chief concern is national security.

“Because Iran is isolated from a security perspective, its leadership focuses internally to provide guarantees for its national security, for its teritorial integrity and the political and social order that Iran has been able to create,” Sariolghalam says.

25 years after the Iranian Revolution the country’s politics remain security centered, which according to Sariolghalam, limits Iran’s interaction with the West. It may also prohibit U.S. acceptance of Iran’s nuclear capability.

“The U.S. feels confident to have a nuclear program with the Indians,” Sariolghalam says. “Pakistan is a military dictatorship. They have a nuclear weapons program. So why cannot Iran have a civilian nuclear weapons program while two neighbors of Iran have even a nuclear weapons program? I think the distinction here has to do with the fact that Iranian political system and Iranian security decision making process, these are not known phenomena for the western world,” he says.

Sariolghalam, a visiting international relations scholar at Ohio State nine years ago, says the Iranian government might agree to a two-year suspension of its nuclear program because of U.S., German and French opposition. But if it occurred, he predicted the crisis would heat up again because President Bush will still be in office when the suspension expires.